Last year I had cause, for the first time ever, to rent a small lockup in a large, purpose built storage emporium, one of a well-known chain. It's very slick, they really do have it down to a fine art (as behoves the providers of any commoditised service like that). I was moderately interested in the list of prohibited items - seemed reasonable enough to debar explosives etc - and I did notice the sign that said the Police and HMRC have the right to force entry ...
|That ain't just spare garden furniture going up ... (story below)|
Another thing that became obvious was that some folks used their units for the most bizarre things. (Although the place is mostly deserted, you do catch the odd glimpse.) E.g. a significant hoard of one-armed bandits, wrapped up in that clingfilm that people wrap their suitcases in at airports. Also that on a Monday morning, a truly enormous lockup is prone to dispense vast quantities of palletised cans of soft drinks onto a juggernaut using a fork-lift. Clearly, I'd not realised the industrial aspect of these places. Oh, and on Saturdays some lockups attract whole families, coming to poke around (and block up the lifts with trolleys - what sport).
Next thing I noticed was that, of a week day, there were two quite large lockups, either side of a corridor, double-doors wide open, music playing, in which two ladies were - or rather, are - running an interesting and rather fragant business, packing up all manner of brightly coloured little stuff (trinkets, food parcels) into very neat little containers. There's a lot of sumptuous Asian fabric involved, and the smells (which hang permanently in the corridors) are very pleasant. This operation requires workbenches, a lot of orderly rackspace, big inventories, and not a little electricity for the lighting and various other pieces of equipment they have. An Alladin's cave of goodies! Making up gifts for guests at Asian weddings, maybe? It isn't the done thing to poke into other people's business(es) in these places ...
Anyhow, this week the storage firm issued updated T's & C's in order to prohibit, inter alia, the following newly banned items and activities:
- power invertors and power generators
- cremation ashes
- use of any charging equipment (including power banks, portable chargers or similar) when you are not with such equipment or when the Store reception is closed
- use any power inverters or power generators (generators ? what, diesel???)
- use more than one (1) computer server at any time
- carry out crypto mining
I did then recall an incident a few years ago at another such storage place nearby, which burned to the ground in a fire so fierce, the whole rather basic steel-and-concrete-cube edifice essentially melted - 120 firefighters involved, the whole works (photo above). Now hang on: what on earth is being stored that causes a blaze like that, where steel-and-concrete doesn't survive?
Wow again. You may be sure I've acquainted myself carefully with the fire exits (which do indeed seem pretty good, with vast ports for pumping in foam). No wonder they worry about some of the items on their list. (Cremation ashes!) The world of anonymous, frequently deserted** places is indeed a very strange place. Anybody got any entertaining stories from this whacky realm?
** except Saturdays and Monday mornings, obviously